Dundee 4
Vllaznia Shkodër 0
UEFA Cup (Qualifying Round 2nd Leg)

4 - 0

UEFA Cup (Qualifying Round 2nd Leg)
Thursday, August 28th, 2003
Dens Park
Attendance: 8,254
7:30 PM Kick-off

Nacho Novo (2)
Juan Sara (41)
Gavin Rae (49)
Nacho Novo (89)

Team Managers
Jim Duffy
Derviš Hadžiosmanovi

Starting Eleven
1. Julian Speroni
16. Jonay Hernández
3. David Mackay
19. Lee Mair
2. Barry Smith
6. Lee Wilkie
7. Beto Carranza
10. Giorgi Nemsadze
8. Gavin Rae
25. Steve Lovell
17. Nacho Novo
Armir Grimaj .1
Luan Zmijani .2
Edmir Luka .3
Admir Teli .4
Safet Osja .5
Hamdi Salihi .6
Klodian Asllani .7
Amarildo Belisha. 8
Yioresin Sinani .9
Edi Martini .10
Armando Cungu .16

12. Jamie Langfield
4. Tom Hutchinson
18. Brent Sancho
20. Colin Boylan
26. Garry Brady
11. Mark Robertson
9. Juan Sara
Arjon Mustafa .12
Erjon Hoti. 11
Rinor Bishja .13
Erion Kraja .15
Senad Mashi .21

Juan Sara for Beto Carranza (40)
Tom Hutchinson for Jonay Hernández (68)
Colin Boylan for Giorgi Nemsadze (73)
Erjon Hoti for Klodian Asllani (69)
Edi Martini for Erion Kraja (72)

None. None.

Red Cards
None. None.
Match Officials

Carlo Bertalini (Italy) (Referee)
Armand Barraud & Urf Weber (Assistants)
Mortin Salm (Fourth Official)

Match Report

Dundee progressed to the first round proper of the UEFA Cup after completing an emphatic double over KS Vllaznia of Albania. There was never the slightest doubt about the outcome after Nacho Novo's opening goal hit the net in just seventy seven seconds. Further strikes by substitute Juan Sara, Gavin Rae and another from Nacho eased Dundee to an easy home win.

The Dark Blues, playing in their white change strip, were tested once or twice by the skills of Sinani and Martin, but although Julian Speroni had to make a couple of good saves and the woodwork came to the rescue on one occasion, it was a comfortable passage into the next stage for Dundee.

Novo's opener came after he was picked out with a wonderful chipped pass from Beto Carranza, the little Spaniard taking a touch and firing a left foot shot low past keeper Grima. Carranza was involved in much of the good stuff in a first half when Dundee often carved openings, but he was forced to leave the field in 39 minutes with a thigh injury.

His replacement Juan Sara didn't waste any time making an impact. His first touch was classy, sending Lovell racing down the left, and when the Englishman had beaten the full back and laid the ball across the face of goal, there was Sara to despatch the ball into the net with his second touch of the night.

The healthy crowd of over 8,000 were in fine voice as the half ended with all four sides of the ground singing songs of celebration.

Within minutes of the second half getting underway, there was certainly a new reason to raise the roof. A corner on the right was cleared as far as Nemsadze who showed wonderful trickery before crossing, again the Vllaznia defence cleared but the ball fell perfectly to Gavin Rae, 22 yards out, who's ferocious and dipping strike left Grima feeling grimmer as it zipped past him and rattled into the net.

The tie was sewn up now, and understandably, a little slackness crept into Dundee's play, allowing the visitors to show they could play a bit. Speroni had to make a fine save from Salihi, and they had several decent efforts from long range as well. Sinani showed fine skill to get in position to beat the Dens custodian with Julian being glad to see the striker's effort go wide of his right hand upright.

Nacho Novo wasn't finished with the Albanian's though and he put the seal on an excellent evening when he ran onto a fine through ball, and fired a right footed shot over the keeper to complete the scoring with just minutes remaining

It was an evening when a new generation of Dundee fans got the chance to savour European football at Dens and everyone at the club is delighted that the adventure continues.

Match report written by Dundee Matchday Programme

Squad Statistics (as at August 28th, 2003)

2003-04 All Time
Julian Speroni (GK)24 5 - 72 -
Jonay Hernández24 5 - 421
David Mackay22 4 - 652
Lee Mair22 5 - 391
Barry Smith29 513153
Lee Wilkie23 51954
Beto Carranza31 4 - 664
Giorgi Nemsadze31 5 - 885
Gavin Rae25 5223225
Steve Lovell22 514016
Nacho Novo24 554814
Tom Hutchinson (sub)21 1 - 14 -
Colin Boylan (sub) - 1 - 31
Juan Sara (sub)26 319435

League Table (as at August 28th, 2003)

No league table has been added for this season.

Manager's Programme Notes

The Club's return to Europe after such a long absence has so far been something to savour.

Save for a couple of minor hiccups, the arduous journey could barely have gone smoother and the Albanians were the perfect hosts.

Of course, the phenomenal result over there was down to a tremendous performance, but even although we couldn't have wished. for a better result to take into this evening's return, nothing can be taken for granted.

If anything, this second leg could be tougher with the Albanian players looking upon this match as an opportunity to impress clubs here and maybe secure a move to the UK. Then there is our inexperience of these situations.

The club isn't used to being in the UEFA Cup, nor two-legged ties, far less going into them holding a two-goal advantage.

So how we handle this situation is my biggest dilemma. Do we keep it tight or go at them?

The best solution I feel is to approach the game as normally as we can and not go gung ho.

And the inexperience I referred to earlier isn't just restricted to myself and the players, but extends to the fans.

This has to be a collective effort and the supporters mustn't get frustrated if things become a bit cagey and tentative.

Our last two home games perfectly illustrate what I mean.

Against Dunfermline, the fans were right behind us all the way, even although we went on to lose.

However, last Saturday against Livingston, frustration undoubtedly crept in even although we were never behind.

All games in the SPL are very difficult to win, so we need your backing all the time, no matter the opponents.

On the park, we'll keep playing the way we believe in and hopefully, we'll get it right more times than we get it wrong.

Returning to this evening's tie, it is only half-time and like all European side they have players who are comfortable on the ball and we have to guard against affording any space at the back which they could exploit.

As this is the first proper European tie played at Dens in almost 30 years, I hope the supporters turn up in numbers and having put ourselves in such a favourable position, I just hope that they will see us take advantage of that to join Hearts in tomorrow's draw.